Did Christ Slander?


I found the video that the abortion abolitionists have posted on YouTube, with a link to that video on their FB page.  The post on the FB reads as such:

While exhorting lost sheep to rise up and practice (James 1:27) a man representing Yellow Box church in Naperville IL, chose to physically use his much larger body to force himself upon our much smaller but braver sister.

Not shown in this video, is a pastor who comes out and shakes the hand of the attacker after it was brought to his attention.

Hashtags included were RealMenDontForceThemselvesOnWomen, EphesiansFiveEleven, among others.  (How about RealChristiansDontForceThemselvesOnOtherChristiansOrCondemnThem?)

The link to a video of my encounter with them followed.  I was glad in a way to see it, only because I wanted to see if I handled myself the way I thought I had.  I had.  I approached the woman reasonably and my exasperation at the end of the short confrontation was very clear.  I didn’t want that, felt the ire beginning to rise, and that’s why I walked away.  It was so obvious that I was being played, something very obvious when I viewed videos of other confrontations that they have posted.

I created an anonymous FB account and commented.  I was nice, believe me, I was.  I commented that there was bullying, but not by the man with the “larger body”.  I said that the man approached with a reasonable request, received an unreasonable reaction that was looking for conflict.  True to their character, I received a reply to my FB comment within seconds — so you think it is ok for him to force himself on her and that it was her fault.

Where was the forcing?  I asked.

He grabbed her and violently dragged her down the sidewalk was the response.

I do not see any grabbing or violence at all.  How can you say that except to try to justify slander?

My comments as well as theirs were immediately deleted.  I am blocked from commenting on their FB site.  Two particularly acidic comments made by their own members on the video they posted of me were also deleted, presumably to prevent them from being painted badly.  They did not, however, delete a comment that said this —

“The same church where lesbians are serving communion”.

If you are interested, I will post instructions on how to find the FB page and video in my comments.  Please be kind if you post any comments and I encourage you not to.

Karma Do(s) and Don’t(s)


I am opening a new salon/restaurant.

I hear you booing all the way over here.  Some of you are still saying huh?!!?  I get that reaction quite often.

Sometimes you strike out, but for those who keep swinging there is the occasional home run — quite possibly my new life theme.  Not only does that philosophy apply to bad jokes, it applies to the way life can be approached.  Don’t look at me as the best example because I strike out a lot.  I live for those times that the ball meets the sweet spot, however.

Karma bites some times.  For the last nine days, I have not been able to ride my bicycle, a condition that is absolutely driving me batty.  Compounding the consternation (and maybe the constipation) is the possibility that it may be a few weeks more before I can ride with any effort.  It will be a week or more before I can ride at all, according to the doctor.

Why is it karma?  Karma stuck out its tongue and called me a whiner.  On August 11, I played softball in the post season tournament for the team I played for this summer — when I wasn’t whining about batting last.  As it turned out, when the coach put together season stats, I was leading the team in batting average and he moved me to the clean up spot in the batting order.  He never quit sending me texts to make sure I could play, making me feel even more like a whiny baby.  So maybe it’s appropriate that I popped a calf muscle during the third tournament game of the night.  Karma literally bit me, the feeling of the muscle tearing as I moved an excrutiating terror, not just because it hurt but my mind instantly told me that I would not be biking for a while.  Seriously.  I was playing first base, finished the play to get the runner out, then my night was over.  Since then I have spent my free time icing and elevating the muscle to keep the swelling down.

The team played four games that night, won the tournament.  They played their best ball once I was out of the line up.

Strike out.  Whiff and auger.

Karma also forced a foul ball.  All riding season I have been struggling with a rebuilt rear wheel on my road bike, new Velocity hoop and spokes with the free hub reused.  I had to take the wheel back to the shop twice, the first time because several spokes loosened on the first long ride, the second because the wheel went impossibly out of true after two rides.  So, at the beginning of this month, my friend and bike shop owner Pete, kindly replaced the entire wheel at no charge.  He told me that I had invested enough in the rebuild and subsequent repairs that I could have purchased a decent rear wheel. The replacement is a nice Mavic Open hoop with Ultegra hub.

I was rewarded for my patience.  I haven’t had a chance to try the new wheel out, though, and won’t have a chance for a while.

Two strikes, but good contact.  There is hope.

Then comes the home run.  After many months of waiting, with hospital and ambulance bills sent to me many times, the bill collectors kindly understanding that I was waiting for insurance to make a decision, the waiting has paid off.  The insurance company that represents the driver that rear ended my car at the beginning of the year called me last Wednesday.  They offered me a settlement that includes enough money to pay all of the hospital/ambulance bills, plus extra for “suffering”.   It’s not a huge amount, but it will take care of some of the extra expenses that have stressed me a little lately.

Home run.  That ball rocketed out of the park.





Nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

I love music.

My Google Play list is awesome.

It is eclectlic in a way.  There is gospel mixed in with funk — Jars of Clay, James Brown, Bryan Duncan, Robin Thicke, Rage Against The Machine, Steve Taylor and The Perfect Foil, Cake, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Beck, Sweet Comfort, Elvis Costello, ELO, Gorillaz, REO Speedwagon, , ,.. just to name a few.  When I am alone, I hook up the Bluetooth speaker to my phone and turn the playlist up loud.  I chair dance.  I stand up and dance, underwear or not.

That is going to be real common for quite a while.  Loneliness is going to be my best friend.

Roll with the changes.  Pump it Up.  Mississippi Delta River Blues.  Rubberneck.  Loser.  Mister Blue Sky.  I Need Your Touch.  Living In New York.  Nothing But The Blood..

So much to keep me moving.  Really, that is the secret to life.



She’s Back


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This is that time of the year where nearly every college age student tells their parent(s) —


It wasn’t quite that dramatic with our daughter, but that sentiment repeated itself many times over the course of the day yesterday in one form or another.  It was really obvious that Alyssa was ready to get to task, a task that did not include her parents.  My guess is that even the most dependent child stretches their wings of independence on college move in day, smelling the sweet odor of freedom (or whatever that leftover stench is left in the dorm).  Alyssa is no exception, her independence already an admirable trait, but I have to admit that my daughter takes on an even stronger stance when it comes to the day for Mom and Dad to GO AWAY.

Have I said how much I love my girl?  Yes.  I know.  Many times.  Dang, do I love how much her life needs to be hers, yet how much she lets belong to her mother.  It is such a delicate balance that she performs so well.  All summer, perhaps the last summer we will have our daughter living in our house, Alyssa has shared intimate moments with her mother —  watching videos while snuggled on her bed, shopping, getting coffee, giggling around the kitchen table.  My daughter expresses her desire to be independent in a stern yet loving way.. and when I say that she is MY daughter.  Yet she clings to her mother in the way that Miriam needs.. and Miriam reaaaaaaallly needs her daughter.  That is fodder for another blog, so let’s leave that one right here.  Plop.  OK?

Alyssa starts her junior year of college in about a week and a half.  As resident assistant for her dorm floor and a leadership scholar, she had to report over a week early in preparation for incoming students.  When we moved her in yesterday, she was the only one on her dorm floor to move in.. a little creepy in some ways.  I am pretty sure that she slept in the same room last night with another floor’s RA.  My fastidious daughter carefully unpacked the boxes and bags stored all summer in our garage and her bedroom, reorganized what needed to return to school with her, then placed them outside the garage door for me to pack into my car.. and her car.  Yes, this year is a first.

My daughter has her own car, a red 2007 Nissan Versa that Miriam purchased from her sister.  The car has over 173K miles on it, but my favorite mechanic did close to $3000 of repairs on the car to return it to like new status.  Miriam purchased the car for the price of the repair, a notion that I balked at, a little because of the mileage on the car and the uncertainty that comes with that.  I also was not happy with the purchase because it didn’t happen the way I had hoped.  I hoped that we would plan the purchase of a car for our daughter together, save the money and then find a vehicle that would be safe for our daughter to drive.  Once again, another blog to write so let’s leave that one right here.  Plop.  OK?

I do need to say that it feels very strange to have a daughter at college, with her own vehicle, another step up along the rungs of independence.  I like it, yet don’t like it.  It’s a double edged sword.

We left at 6 AM for the four hour trek to Upland, Indiana.  6 AM, on the dot.  Normally Miriam would drag her feet and we would leave later, but Alyssa didn’t allow that.  My car and her car was packed the night before.  All I had to do was add the two bicycles she needed to the rack on the back of my VW before we left, easily accomplished since I was out of bed, washed and ready before 5 AM.  A trip to Dunkin and the gas station to fill up Alyssa’s car, and we were zipping happily along the Chicago tollway system.

Another brag — my daughter drives AWESOME.  She needed to follow me through Chicago into Indiana since I know the way very well, but she led the west to east trek across Indiana (at my insistence) in a very expeditious manner.  Alyssa is definitely my daughter.  We arrived at Taylor University also in a very expeditious manner.

Hold on for a second.. I need to crank it like a chainsaw (thank you, Family Force Five).  Fresh flannel shirt, country bumpkin.

Let me say inform you of this — I am a gimp right now.  That sucks, especially since that means that I can’t ride a bicycle right now.  Last Thursday night, I popped a calf muscle in a softball tournament.  As my father reminded me, maybe it’s time to hang up the softball glove.  However, I am milking the injury, my right calf wrapped in a compression bandage, a slight limp as I pitifully march along.  Alyssa’s dorm room is on the third floor, without an elevator.

No, I did not beg out of carrying her stuff up the stairs.  The pity factor did help, making both Miriam and Alyssa check up on me periodically to make sure that I was OK.  Truthfully, it was more difficult.  I am moving slow, more carefully, but I was able to do my fair share of the transfer from cars to dorm room.  At one point, though, it became my job to perform a very essential task.


Before anything could be moved into the dorm room, the dorm room had to be arranged properly.  Taylor University provides stackable and moveable furniture, which means that the occupant of each dorm room can decide on how the beds, dressers, desks, and book shelves can be arranged.  Alyssa wanted to stack the beds on top of the desks, dressers, and bookshelves, much to the consternation of mother superior.  Many times I had to be the intercessor, reminding Miriam that this was her daughter’s domain.  As the father (I know the roles are interchangeable), my job is to be the calm one, the one with a calm maner that reminds the mother that this is the daughter’s decision, a decision that she can change as she wants.

“It’s her room.  Let her do what she wants.  She can change it if it doesn’t work.”

I have to admit that there was a bit of smug satisfaction, a superiority of sorts, as I made that pronouncement.

My smug manner was challenged as I undertook the assembly of the futon that Alyssa and her roomie had purchased together.  That sucker was too big for the dorm room.

(heh heh heh) “She will just have to deal with it.”  I reminded Miriam.

Alyssa was in a bit of a hurry.  A 5:15 there was a staff meeting with the college president, more than likely an introductory to the college leadership staff, a cookout at his on campus house yet very important.  By 3 PM, I had just finished the futon assembly and only her clothes were moved into the closet.  All else was waiting outside the dorm suite to be moved in.  But we still had a supply run to make to the local Walmart.  Alyssa was nervous as she drove us to the store, plotting how we would accomplish the shopping tasks together.  Alyssa and I went together to find our portion of the list, Miriam the other.  We bought the majority of the items (my debit card is still screaming), filled the gas tank of Alyssa’s Nissan, and made it back to campus with 15 minutes to spare.  We said a quick good bye in the dorm parking lot.

And.  That.  Was. It.

Oddly enough, Miriam and I had a very relaxed dinner together at Cracker Barrel (or Crackle Barrel if you so prefer), then a quiet trip back to Chicagoland.

Did I mention that the boy child started his senior year of high school yesterday……

(in the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey)




It’s Never Easy


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nickcriticThis week, the world said good bye to a renowned book critic, a gifted evaluator known for his coveted Dookie award, last awarded to some guy who writes from some place in Oregon.  It is often said that the world could always use one less critic, but I disagree.  This one will be sorely missed.

Attempted humor aside, I am struggling to write down what I feel right now because it really did happen.  There really is one less canine book critic in this world.  Miriam and I took our loyal companion, Nick, to our veterinarian to have him euthanized.  That is a decision that is never easy, no matter how common it is and no matter if one has made the same decision for another family pet before.  Even though it has been obvious for months that our dog’s health had been rapidly declining, we put off the final decision until now.  A tumor on his lungs had caused his breathing to become labored as it grew.  Seizures, until recently reasonably controlled by medication, suddenly returned and took on new forms, affecting him in different ways, some seizures coming on gradually and gripping Nick with fear of what was about to happen to him.  Voracious hunger turned Nick into a senile pig who wanted to eat constantly, so much that he often laid next to his food bowl for long periods of time, licking it.  Often, he lost control of his bowels inside the house, a humiliation to our fastidious dog, a dog who never did his thing inside the house.  More often than not, Nick required our help to stand up.  Usually eager to greet everyone at the door, more often than not he wouldn’t stir from where he rested in the downstairs hall or dining room.  I found myself checking to see if he was breathing.  His mane was matted from seizure induced drool most of the time, a brushing required daily just to remove those mats.

Most telling was the dull look in his eyes, resignation that showed that life had become a struggle for him.

Nick was a dog who required a lot of affection, one of the characteristics that may have endeared him to me more than any other dog that we have had.  Our first dog, a welsh terrier, was.. a terrier.  Anyone who has lived with a terrier knows what I am talking about.  Terriers live more for themselves, affection doled out seemingly when it’s convenient for them, a singular mind that often borders stubborn defiance.  Shelties, which is Nick’s breed, live to please with a loyalty that I have yet to find elsewhere.  Nick lived on affection, our routine each day required several snuggles with his head against my chest, usually the first thing I did each day when I got home from work.  He also held steadfastly to his job of guarding the family, never leaving his upstairs post each morning until Miriam was out of bed and through with her shower.  Somehow, even with the difficulties of walking, he still managed to make it up the stairs for that duty each morning.  He also came to me for those snuggles, tried to get up on the couch with me.  I either helped him up on the couch or I sat on the floor with him.

Last weekend was bad for Nick.  That’s when the resigned look reappeared and stayed.  We knew it was time.  After some discussion on Sunday night, it was decided that Miriam would call our veterinarian the next morning about having Nick put to sleep, which she did.  I got a text from Miriam on Monday morning, asking when I was available on Tuesday.  Our appointment was for 9 AM on Tuesday.

Monday night was spent saying good byes.  Miriam caught me sobbing as I held Nick on the kitchen floor, Nick licking my hand in an attempt to comfort me.  I felt like calling off the appointment, try to find a way that we could make Nick’s life more comfortable.  But I knew it was time.  So did Nick.  The resignation came over me as well, filling me with the gratitude of being able to properly say good bye to my friend and companion, a gift from God for many years, his warmth something to be remembered for the rest of my life.

20160809_084354Tuesday morning came and it was time to take Nick to the vet.  After our cat, Chester, said his good byes, we carried Nick to my car, loaded him into the back seat, our tears flowing.  I turned on the radio as we pulled away from the house, hoping for a distraction but (I am not making this up), Elton John’s “Funeral For A Friend” was playing on the station.  I turned the radio off.

13161We have a very good vet, who greeted us at the door to escort us to the room where the injections would be administered.  Nancy made sure that we had as much time as we wanted with Nick.  She reminded us of what he was like when we first brought him into our home, a nervous pup who had been passed between two different households, and how he had changed into a confident dog who had been given a secure home and purpose.  Once again, she assured us that we were doing the right thing, confirming by listening to his heart and lungs that he was struggling to hang on.  She hugged Miriam several times, giving her the comfort that Miriam needed.  Then the vet took Nick away to add an injection port to his leg and to give him a sedative.  A few minutes later, she brought him back where I laid next to him as Miriam sat close by.  A pain killer shot was administered, which made Nick lower his chin to the floor cushion, then the lethal injection was given to him.  He barely gave a sigh as his heart and lungs ceased to function.  We said our final good byes and stood up to leave.  It was eerie to look at Nick one last time, his bicolored blue and brown eyes showing only the brown, lifeless.

It hasn’t been a week of tears, but boy does it seem different in our house, especially as Nick’s things have gone out to the garage.  There are times when I swear that I hear his nails clicking on the laminate in our hallway.  The last two nights, I have gone to the kitchen after 8 to get Nick’s pills ready, our normal routine.  When I finished my dinner, I put my plate on the ground, waiting for Nick to perform his dishwashing task.  It’s going to take a while to get used to not having him around.

Dogs are a great gift to their owners.  We all know that there is likely going to come the time when we have to say good bye to them, but we almost never are ready to do that.  I can honestly say that there was a lot of joy mixed with the sorrow of saying good bye this week, the joy of celebrating a true friend.

Those Who Won’t Join The Club


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This blog must begin with an obvious statement — I am near or completely stupid most of a good portion of 99.9% of all of the time.  This morning’s tale demonstrates that.  Most of my blogs should start with that obvious statement.  I will not ask for a vote, although I am sure that a vote on my level of competency will be a more sure vote for most people than the upcoming presidential election.

I am also going to ask any reader of this blog to visit this web site, study it a little if you have the chance, make your own decision (if that is necessary) about the organization that I encountered in this morning’s adventure.  The web site is http://www.churchrepent.com

As I have shared here in the past, I volunteer a few times a month as a parking lot attendant at my church, which for me means that I get to wear one of those nifty orange reflective vests and wave/smile/talk to people as they arrive for church services.  It’s not much and I have done other things over the years that may have had more significance in the lives of others, but I seem to be a good fit for the parking lot guy gig.  I want to do more, although some of what I have been allowed to experience in my life qualifies in the top ten of really deep spiritual service category.  Mostly I have been a pretty average Christian though.  I am not sure what that means.  I guess that means that I have been comfortable.

According to what I was told this morning, comfortable = apathetic = enemy of God.  It also means that I am not a true Christian.  Comfortable is the unforgiveable sin.  At least now I know.  Stupid me, I should have realized that a long time ago.

If the Church Repent folks simply made it their mission to help Christians and churches to overcome apathy to make more of a difference in this world, then I would be applauding them and saying “More power to ya… er.. more of GOD’s power to ya!”.  If they tried to accomplish that mission in a way that honors God rather than attack God’s people using God’s name as an excuse, then I would at least be a fan of Church Repent.  What the Church Repent folks have done is replace God with an idol, a cause that has become their idol — to fight abortion by shaming the church into becoming activists against abortion.  If you’re not picketing Planned Parenthood or protesting an abortion clinic, then you have no value.

One look at the Church Repent web site makes that very obvious.  “Churches” (yes, they place that word in parentheses) who they have judged as shallow, who do not punish those who have had abortions, who do not condemn abortion in the way that Church Repent thinks is adequate — will be subjected to a protest.  During that protest, Church Repent will treat the people of those “churches” as non-human, enemies — ironic if you think about it.  Church Repent has made the fight against abortion their God Idol, reminding us that we need to value the lives of the unborn, yet the behavior that I witnessed and experienced this morning demonstrated that they do not apply that principle to the lives of the already born.. or born again even.

Stupid me also thinks that you can reason with lunatics.  I’m still stupidly naïve that way.  My first expectation is that everyone, for the most part, is going to behave reasonably.

Is that wrong?

Back to Steve the Parking Lot Guy story.  It was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm, a slight breeze that cooled pleasantly .  Our church has an east parking lot and a west parking lot.  I man the east lot, a bit tricky because it has only one entrance/exit as well as being close to the traffic light and intersection that most use to get to the church building.  This morning, the lot filled for the early service, then filled again for the second service.  Getting out of the parking lot after each service was challenging, although I am always amazed at the way each driver politely takes turns as they leave.  I guess I shouldn’t be.  It’s church, after all.

My friend and co-attendant, Mark, arrived at our parking attendant posts a few minutes before the early church service concluded.  I removed the “Parking Lot Full” sign from the entrance, took my spot in front of the first aisle to monitor the parade of vehicles out of the lot.  As we took our spots, two men and a woman walked along the front of the lot, next to the street, set up signs that featured fetuses in the womb as well as a list of condemnations for those who do not take a stand for the unborn.  Two men stood at the corner, at the light and intersection that people take to get to the church building, and began shouting through a bull horn at the cars and people as they entered, and soon after as the cars/people left.  The woman positioned herself about 20 feet from me, at and in the driveway that cars used to get in and out of the east parking lot.  She immediately began yelling condemnations, holding a pamphlet while trying to get cars to stop and take from her.  At times, she walked directly into the path of a car to stop it.

Not cool.

Before she took her spot, I received a call on my walkie talkie for help with a situation in the west parking lot.  Apparently, one the Church Repent protestors, a young man holding a large fetus sign, decided that he should protest next to the door where people were exiting to the west parking lot.  Adding to the issue was the fact that the west lot is where many of the young families with children park.  So my co-attendant high tailed it to the west lot.

Right after that is when the chaos started at the lot I was tending.  I was by myself, with raging lunatics on a bull horn causing a disturbance at the street corner in front of the lot, and an insane woman ranting 20 feet away from me, calling people evil and sinful, surely everyone in our church were Pro Choice, something she kept screaming as the people and cars passed.  People coming out and in their cars were confused, some wondering why our church would stage a protest like that.  I did my best to explain that this was not something that our church was doing or supporting.  But it looked that way.

Yes, that bothered me, maybe more than anything else.

Confronting these people would be foolish.  I called at least five times on my walkie talkie for security.  No one answered.  So I did a foolish thing.  I walked up to the woman who was screaming at the parking lot entrance, asked her if I could speak with her.  She ignored me.  I put my right hand on her left arm, hoping to get her attention.  The woman screamed that I was attacking and assaulting her.  As calmly as I could, I asked her to stop blocking traffic and if she would kindly join the men who were protesting on the corner.  Instead, she screamed that she had a right to be where she was at, refused to move, and I had no right to ask her to leave.

OK.  She was right that she was on a sidewalk and on public property.  I could not make her leave.  I asked her if her and her friends had talked to anyone at our church, with any church leader or staff member, before the protest.  I knew the answer to that one.  No.  She confirmed than, then shoved a pamphlet in my face, which I took as I walked away.

I would like to say that I completely hid my displeasure.  I didn’t.  I didn’t yell or scream either.  Let me tell you this — it was really difficult to keep from losing it.  But I had done a very stupid thing by first touching the woman with my hand, then confronting her with those questions.  These people were looking for conflict.  They were looking for a fight.  Unwittingly, I had given them a target for that conflict.


Security finally showed up.  They asked me to stand near the woman, make sure that traffic kept moving into the parking lot, which I did but with my back to the woman.  There is always a lull between services, when most of the early service traffic has cleared and before the people coming to the late service begin to show up.  Due to the disturbance, people were late leaving, so I was kept busy directing traffic as people left the parking lot.  However, traffic coming in was light and as the amount of cars leaving dwindled, the protestors turned their attention to me.  Police had shown up and made them put away their bullhorns, but the were able to yell insults at me from the corner.

“Hey comfortable parking lot man in your important orange vest.  You think your comfortable life watching your kids play football and taking them to Disneyland is such a good thing.  You are a sinner, a worker of iniquity.”  They quoted their version of a passage from Psalms, apparently justifying their worker of iniquity accusation.  “You brutalized and abused our sister.  You know nothing of God and he hates you.  You are an pathetic apathetic mess and not worthy of being called a son of God.”

I am not making this up.  The woman chimed in.

I ignored them, kept being Mister Parking Lot Guy.  It was stupid, really.  I should have just left.  A large part of me wanted to, but a part of me wanted to stay there to explain to the confused people walking in that our church had absolutely nothing to do with the rude protest.

A man in a red tee shirt, one of the protestors and apparently the leader, joined the woman and started yelling insults at me, telling me that I had abused the woman and was not a Christian, not even worthy to direct traffic in a church parking lot.  He took a spot on the sidewalk across from me, threatening me, telling me that if I did not apologize to the woman, he was going to call the police and say that I had abused her.

During that whole time, I said nothing except once to tell the man that I would not be drawn into their fight.  Yes.  It was stupid of me to stay.  I should have just walked away.  By that time, the lot was almost full and my duties were done.  But the man kept threatening to call the police unless I apologized.  So I walked to within a few feet of them, and apologized for asking the woman to leave.  Then I did go back inside the building, as the man continued to yell insults at my back.  I didn’t look at him, just kept walking.  When I got to the front door, I turned around as the man was dialing his cell phone.  He called the police.

I guess it’s OK to lie if you think it helps your cause.  They told the policeman that I had grabbed the woman and dragged her down the sidewalk towards the corner.  They told the policeman that they wanted to press assault and battery charges against me.  They told the policeman that they had video to prove it and would post it on YouTube to prove it.

Yeah, the woman had a GoPro around her neck.  It would take a real creative edit to prove what they were claiming.  The policeman told me that he had serious doubts that they would even produce the video that they claimed they would produce.

I had parked my car in the west lot.  I walked out to my car to the taunts of the protestors, calling me an abuser and saying that I should apologize for my actions.  Instead of going to my car, friends picked me up and took me a few blocks away.  They waited for a few minutes, then another friend brought my car to me.  We didn’t want to risk the Church Repent lunatics getting my car’s license number.  Who knows if they would show up at my house?

So, there is my crazy day.  Crazy people.  It’s a crazy, mixed up world and it’s just getting worse.

Apparently, if you aren’t willing to join their club, pay their dues, follow their rules, then you are only worth a damnation.

There is a lot more I can say, but I have already said enough that is judgement of the Church Repent protestors.

If you are interested, here are a few pictures of the pamphlet they were passing out.  There actually is a little bit of sense to it, in between the crazy.




What Makes Her Unique


My daughter is home from college for the summer, a treat that I know I may not get to enjoy too many times again.  Last summer, she lived for two months at a youth camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin as a live in counselor.  Who knows what next year will bring, especially since she is studying to be a teacher and will be a college junior this year.  Alyssa is a busy young lady, really not home much even when she is home — working as a cashier at Cracker Barrel, teaching flute lessons, volunteering to help with the high school marching band, as well as spending a lot of her free time with friends.  I am quite proud of my busy little girl.

Tonight I am watching Alyssa put together decorations for her dorm floor, adding to the collection of decorations she has already put together this summer.  This fall, she will be the Personnel Assistant for her dorm floor (other colleges call the position R.A.), a responsibility she is taking quite seriously.  The other night, she wrote and mailed notes to each of the freshman girls that will be on her dorm floor.  Several times, I have watched her Face Time with the other P.A. in her dorm.  When Alyssa was interviewing to be P.A., she was as nervous as I have seen her, and she was very excited when she found out that she was appointed to the position.  I received a text from her right away, then a phone call.

I love watching the careful detail she gives.  It’s the way she has always been, something that has always brought a smile to me.  When she was the drum major for her high school marching band, she gave the same kind of attention to the responsibilities that came with the position.

I am aware of the blessing my daughter is, not just to me, but to others.  Not all fathers have so many reasons to be proud of their child.

As I watch my daughter, I realize that even though I can see the influence of both myself and my wife in her, so much of what makes her special is unique to her.  I can’t take credit for a lot of what makes her the person she is.  Neither can her mother.  Oh, there are parts of her personality that reflect each of her parents, but so much of what makes Alyssa so special is what is unique only to her.

Look at her hair — curly, red, and neither of her parents has either!

She leaves for college in a few weeks.  My house will seem empty.  I miss her already!

It was a strange weekend.

Doctor follow up.  Blood pressure is very much under control, 124/68 on Friday afternoon and usually somewhere in the vicinity of that pressure.    My doctor was very pleased with what he saw, enough that he said he does not need to see me for another year.


Visit to my parents, the annual family get together.  I went by myself, my children both occupied with either work or camp, my wife decided that work needed her attention.  It felt very strange to be by myself.  My brothers and their wives as well as their children did a good job treating me like it was no big deal.  I felt a bit betrayed by my wife, but I also enjoyed the time with my family.  We went to an outdoor play last night, Hello Dolly, and my little niece enjoyed having her uncle Steve all to herself. I like that my niece and nephew like their uncle.  Anna sat next to me during the play and it was clear that she liked having her uncle with her!

I rode some of the local singletrack trails around Lake Springfield yesterday morning, a treat simply because the local trail group is new and they have been working hard to put together a good trail system.  From what I saw, they have a good start.  The trails were very well maintained and I liked that the trail builders are trying to make them challenging.  It has been very rainy in Illinois lately, so the trails were a bit greasy, but they have a lot of roots and extra stunts added in.  I had a good time riding the trails, the Lick Creek and Polecat Creek trail systems.  They were challenging enough that I dumped twice, and also wrecked a rear derailleur while jumping a log (not a big deal except for the time it will take for my shop to fix the break).20160723_103419

I am home, by myself, enjoying a bit of the quiet.  With Nate gone for the week, it promises to be a quiet week.  I may not be riding much as my road bike is also out of commission.  The rear wheel has been a constant issue all season and has not been quite right since last Fall.  I took it back to my favorite shop last week and my friend, Pete, is looking for a reasonably priced replacement.  He has given up fixing the wheel.





Electronic books are a new thing to me.  Prior to just a few weeks ago, I had never given electronic books much of a thought, at least beyond when my daughter had a Kindle and she had chosen to read an assigned book for school on her Kindle (and was disappointed when the Kindle failed).  Honestly, I am one of those people who is holding on to the notion that a REAL hard copy book is the only way to read a book.

Then again, my only choice for E-books was using my phone or IPod or lap top computer.  None of those mediums is ideal for E-books.  Recently, a dishonest Verizon salesman sold my wife and son a phone upgrade with the idea that the tablet promotion offered with the phone upgrade was ‘free’ and would cost us nothing.  Now, I have two free tablet computers that cost me $500… plus a monthly fee for the phone lines that were added to the wireless accounts.

I despise dishonest people, especially freaking two faced truthless phone salesmen.

So I have two tablets that I have no idea what to do with.  Nobody in my family has a real use for tablet computers.  Sorry, tablet manufacturers, we just don’t.

When I went to my local library to check out the latest jones that I am experiencing, a trilogy by Justin Cronin, I was flabbergasted that the first book of the trilogy was already checked out.  I found the second and third books, greedily grabbed them and horded them to my possession.  But ‘The Passage’ was not mine to be possessed.  I slapped my forehead repeatedly.  What was I to do?

Ahhhhhhhh, but I have tablets in my possession, both gathering electronic dust.  My local library also offers Ebooks.  Hah!!!!!!  I found my loophole.  An Ebook copy of ‘The Passage’ was available.  I checked it out using my new unwelcome tablet, an evil grin enveloping my countenance as I realized that I beat out other desperate readers for one of the five electronic copies available.  I began reading, almost greedily, immediately, trying to get used to the electronic format.

The Passage is very, very, very good, by the way.

I was 90% finished.

Guess what happened?  I bet you can’t guess.

Maybe you can, especially if you are E savvy.

I was close to the end.  The electronic check out period ran out.  I didn’t know it.  I was prepared to finish the book before I went to sleep a few nights ago, but the electronic gods had already taken the book away from me.






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